gild the pill

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From gild the lily + pill as in an unpleasant thing (cf. bitter pill)

Verb[edit]

to gild the pill (third-person singular simple present gilds the pill, present participle gilding the pill, simple past and past participle gilded the pill)

  1. (idiomatic) To make something unappealing look more attractive.
    • “The Parliamentary Debates”, in UK Parliament[1], accessed 11-14-2017: ““The chemists who first gilded the pill now sit on the Front Opposition Bench.””
    • “I've jibe and joke”, in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard[2], accessed 11-14-2017: ““For he who'd make his fellow, fellow, fellow creatures wise, should always gild the philosophic pill!””

Synonyms[edit]